Pursuing Two Loves: Ashley Mulcahy Finds the Right Match With Vocal Music and Italian


By Carissa Van Heest
Mar 21, 2013 Bookmark and Share

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Italian and Vocal Performance Major Ashley Mulcahy actively seeks out ways to connect her two passions.

“People talk about music as language but I also hear language as music,” she said. “I think languages themselves are beautiful music.”  

Ashley is organizing an upcoming recital which will feature pieces from five Romance languages: French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish.  The recital will take place Saturday, April 20 at 5 pm in the Cady Room of the Stearns Building on north campus and is free and open to the public.  Several musicians will be featured, including cellist James Perretta, pianist Ammon Bratt, and Victor Huls at the harpsichord.  

Ashley will perform pieces by a number of composers, including Monteverdi, Poulenc, Montsalvatge, Ovalle, Villa-Lobos, and Jora.  Her favorite piece is “Il Lamento d’Arianna” which she noted is the only surviving piece from Monteverdi’s opera, Arianna.

At an early age, Ashley became interested in vocal performance, primarily singing musical theater. Yet it was at age 16 that she was introduced to classical singing, through the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) festival.

“I found that it suited my voice much better,” she said.  

Still, while she thoroughly enjoyed music and singing, Ashley soon discovered she had another love: the Italian language.

“I had the most wonderful Italian teacher [while in high school],” she said. “Italian was always my favorite subject.”  

Even then, Ashley found ways to connect her love of Italian and her love of music, working with her high school Italian teacher to plan a unit on opera.  She also sought out opportunities to build upon her experience with the Italian language by tutoring younger students.   

In summer 2012, Ashley had an opportunity to au pair for a family in Dosso, Italy, a town with approximately 1,500 residents, located 30 minutes from Ferrara and an hour away from Bologna.  She enjoyed her experience and would like to return as soon as possible.  

“It was a fun cultural exchange,” she said.

Within RLL, Ashley takes an active role inside and outside of the classroom.  She is a member of the editorial staff for the student-run Italian newsletter, La Nostra Voce and her favorite Italian courses were the literature courses she took with Professor Vincenzo Binetti.  

“He really challenged us to think about language and literature in ways that are less obvious,” she said.  

For Ashley, continuing to seek out ways to be an active performer is important and she plans to become a professor of voice in the future.

“It combines all the things I really like,” she said.

However, seeing the many connections between Italian and the arts, she added “knowing Italian really well opens a lot of doors in vocal performance.”